“Useful and entertaining” “Inspiring” “Hilarious”
“Great fun – lovely speaker” “Superb – thoroughly inspiring”
“Very entertaining and evocative” “Inspiring and uplifting”
As author for Collins Education Progress Reader for older children, I was recently asked to give a presentation to Literacy Leaders at conferences at Reading and Halifax.
The theme for my presentation was the ‘Love of Language’. I used my Pirate Poems from ‘Pirates Chest and Other Body Parts’ to demonstrate how I ‘play’ with words. I wanted to try and encourage teachers to ignite children’s love of language…to play, have fun, enjoy and learn.
Someone once described poetry to me as ‘mouth music’. To demonstrate this wonderful concept, I offered a skipping rope to one of the teachers who volunteered to ‘skip to the rhythm of the pirate beat’ – which she did with great gusto and perfect rhythm! The audience was encouraged to join in and come up with their own skipping rhymes. I find that boys, in particular, respond well to tight structures – puzzle / pattern based writing opportunities (Haiku works well too).
Skip to the rhythm of the pirate beat,
Skip to the rhythm on your pirate feet,
Over the waves and under the sea
To the depths where the chest full of treasure be!
We then went on to give actions to each line of Sea Legs Eleven…
Avast there all yea lubbers, I’ve eleven legs in me Cupboard!
I’ve a dancing leg… a romancing leg,
Carved with hearts stands apart from me Anglesea leg…
The result was everyone remembered the poem… some ‘feet’!!!!
I believe our job as teachers (and authors) is to offer real and imaginary experiences that enable children to gather words that extend their vocabulary.
So let’s fill children up with wonderful words … take them places, give them objects and fabrics to hold, touch and wear… and of course play lots of mouth music!